PH April inflation seen steady at 2.6% on year

Posted at 05/01/2012 10:59 AM | Updated as of 05/01/2012 12:50 PM

Inflation rate seen unchanged after slowing for 5 months

MANILA - Philippine annual inflation likely steadied in April, after slowing for five consecutive months, a poll showed on Monday, still allowing room for the central bank to keep interest rates low to support growth.  

Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told Reuters last week that the central bank would keep rates at historically low levels for now, with most economic indicators pointing to faster growth and manageable inflation. 

Inflation in April probably held at 2.6 percent, unchanged from March, according to the median of estimates of 13 economists surveyed by Reuters.  

The central bank expects inflation to average 3.1 percent this year, slightly lower than the median forecast of 3.2 percent in the poll.  

The government has set a target of 3 to 5 percent inflation this year as it tackles volatile oil prices, higher transport costs and strong capital inflows. 

The central bank left the overnight borrowing rate unchanged at 4 percent at its April 19 meeting,
pausing after two rates cuts in January and March. With inflation subdued, most economists forecast the rate would be kept steady for the whole year.